Top footballers take #KickUpChallenge to support young people’s mental health

Hundreds of people across the country, including a string of top footballers, have taken part in the #KickUpChallenge since its launch on Saturday 4th May.

Released Thursday 9 May 2019

The social media challenge was set up by Paula Henley and Emma Burke, two friends from Bournemouth, to raise money for the charity YoungMinds and to encourage young people who are struggling to cope to look for help.

People taking the #KickUpChallenge film themselves trying to do ten kick ups, share their videos on social media and nominate three friends to do the same.

Former football manager and I’m a Celebrity “King of the Jungle” Harry Redknapp and Aston Villa footballer Tyrone Mings officially launched the challenge on Saturday 4th May, alongside Paula and Emma. Since then, hundreds of people have taken part after being nominated, including footballers Callum Wilson, Nathan Ake, John Terry, Jody Morris and former Great Britain Paralympic Football captain Jack Rutter.

People have attempted the challenge while drinking a cup of tea, dressed as a gorilla, with a tennis ball and in the dark, while support from the Junior Premier League has led to hundreds of talented young footballers demonstrating their skills.

Paula said:

“Even though we hope the #KickUpChallenge is fun to do, it’s got a serious message behind it too – one that we want to spread as far as possible.

“I lost my step-son to suicide and I don’t want anyone else to go through that. I know how hard it is to talk about what you’re going through, but how terribly important it is. I want every young person to know that it’s ok to reach out and talk to someone. That’s what this challenge is really about for me.”

Emma Burke, who set up the challenge with Paula and co-runs their business, Laceeze, said:

“We’re delighted to have so much support for the challenge, and we’re really grateful to everyone who’s got involved. You don’t need to be able to do ten kick-ups to take part – it’s just about giving it a go. We hope that many more people will see it and want to take part, donate to YoungMinds and tag their friends too.”

One in eight children and young people in the UK have a diagnosable mental health problem, and many more go through times where they struggle to cope. YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for young people’s mental health, and ensuring that young people are empowered and supported through life, whatever challenges they face.

Tom Madders, Director of Communications at YoungMinds, said:

“What Paula and Emma are doing is incredible. We’re so grateful to have their support and we hope this challenge will raise awareness and funds to help us continue our work.

“Any young person who is struggling with their mental health deserves to get the help that they need. We want to spread the message that they aren’t alone – and that talking to someone about how you’re feeling is a really important first step.”

To take part in the challenge, follow the four steps below:

  1. Film yourself doing 10 kick-ups
  2. Tag three friends to do the same
  3. Upload your video to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

Don’t forget to tag your friends & use the hashtag #KickUpChallenge

  1. Donate to YoungMinds

Text YOUNGMINDS to 70660 to donate £2

Please contact [email protected] for any requests about YoungMinds


YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity #FightingFor young people’s mental health. For more information please visit

Follow us on Twitter @YoungMindsUK and Facebook

For free advice and support for parents, call our helpline on 0808 802 5544

For tips and resources on wellbeing in schools, join our 360° Schools community at

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